Friday, June 15, 2012

Album Review: The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leaving Now

Album Rating: A
Back in 2010 something happened, an album dropped that made everyone stop what they were doing and stand in awe at a musical revolutionary.  Meanwhile, I merely stood there wondering what had happened as all that I was hearing was a great folk record that simply stood a bit above the crowd.  The Tallest Man on Earth’s second record, The Wild Hunt was an exceptional piece of music, yes, but I could not find It to be the blockbuster it was so heralded as.  Well consider me a changed man, as Kristian Matsson has not only produced the best record of his career, but 2012’s most impressive record overall.
To be fair, There’s No Leaving Now isn’t so different from The Tallest Man on Earth’s previous material.  In fact, one could even call it strikingly similar.  However, the subtle songwriting improvements make all the difference.  That isn’t to say that they needed much improvement, but each song feels fuller and more complex, full of interesting guitar segments and great vocal melodies.  As always, things feel a tad Bob Dylan-ish, but who is complaining?

There’s No Leaving Now is a folk masterpiece because unlike a lot of what is going on in the genre today, it feels absolutely genuine.  Each moment of the record feels like it came straight from the artist’s soul, and for that it stands out as wholly immiscible.  We as listeners can feel what Matsson feels as he croons and wails across the album’s 10 tracks.  Songs like the title track are a bit melancholy, while the surprisingly catchy “Leading Me Now” feel much more upbeat.  It’s constantly shifting mood but it never feels forced or unnecessary.

The Tallest Man on Earth has truly hit one out of the park with There’s No Leaving Now, as it stands out as the best work from one of modern folk’s best discographies.  It rings true with its genuine emotion and brilliant songwriting, and is something that one can play in the summer with the windows down, or curl up and be comforted by in the winter.  Simply put, There’s No Leaving Now is absolutely essential 2012 listening.

1. To Just Grow Away
2. Revelation Blues
3. Leading Me Now
4. 1904
5. Bright Lanterns
6. There's No Leaving Now
7. Wind and Walls
8. Little Brother
9. Criminals
10. On Every Page

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